practicing religion due to respect for the family
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21-05-2010, 01:31 PM
practicing religion due to respect for the family
here is the thing- my family is Jewish traditional, means we practice religion in some situations- on Friday night we do a Kidush, we go to the synagogue in holidays and some other things.

In somethings I refuse to participate in active way (in Kidush, for example, I don't say "Amen" and don't say the bread prayer), but I am still present while practicig religion.

Today I went with my grandma to the cemeteries to visit my grandpa and my great grandparents (my granpa and my grandma's parents are buried in different cemeteries). After each cemetery I washed my hands (by the Halacha, you need to wash your hands after leaving the cemetery) due to the respect I have to my grandma's believe. I would insult her if I wouldn't wash my hands.

And every time I do things like that- washing my hands after being in the cemetery or pray while lighting the Shabbats' candles because I know my grandma (or any other person from my family) expects me to do so, I feel guilty. I think "I shouldn't be doing so because I don't believe in such things" but then I think "but she is my grandma, I owe her that respect".

What should I do? I don't believe in god, I don't practice religion but I don't want to disappoint my family. Another issue in that matter is that they feel I have no honor to my heritage as Jewish because I am an atheist (and have no honor to the Jewish heritage in right-wing family is considered as a betrayal), while I have the full respect for it and consider my self as Jewish before anything else.

I solevd the issue of indentity between me and my self, but I didn't solved it between me and my family. How can I do that?
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21-05-2010, 02:06 PM
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
I solved it by just doing it. Just because you don't personally believe it doesn't mean that you need to get up in your family's face about it. Whether or not it matters to you, it matters to them, and I feel that it's both easier and more respectful to just put up with it. They know I'm an atheist, but they aren't exactly comfortable with it, and I see no reason to make the situation worse.
Of course, in real life I'm a fairly easygoing guy. I don't get worked up about stuff like this very easily. You might be different. If you find your family's asking for you to participate in their ceremonies offensive, let them know. They are your family, after all. They're not going to throw you out on the street*. Talk to them.

*: Probably.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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21-05-2010, 09:29 PM
 
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
Force leads to rebellion. Just act. Act to impress. Acting isn't lying. I act like a Christian. I hate to be a Christian but family is what matters, right? I love my family. I assume you love yours. In loving my family, I am not forced. I feel it is an obligation.

Smile
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22-05-2010, 05:58 PM
 
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
When I came out to my family as an Atheist, my parents were both quite unhappy with my decision. After they slept on it and we came to terms, I ensured them that any traditions we have as a family will remain as they are.

In essence, I sat through my neice's baptism, through weddings, etc. I would chuckle when I listen to the priest talk about the dogma, but I don't make a fuss (except to my wife after the fact, and my brother-in-law who is also an Atheist).

You just do what you have to to not 'rock the boat'. It isn't selling out, it's just being human with those that matter most.
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24-05-2010, 09:49 PM
 
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
I am going through the given reply and I fill that you have to do like a given suggestion and I hope that your problem will easily solve.
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25-05-2010, 08:27 AM
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
thank you all, yov'e been very helpfullSmile
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26-05-2010, 01:18 AM
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
I just recently had the religion discussion with my mother and she took it much, much better than I thought. I know she is not happy that I do not believe but she accepts who I am and still loves me. We came to an agreement that I would not push my beliefs on her and she would not push hers on me. She knows I will not go to church, pray, read the bible, etc. I will not stop voicing my non-belief and helping those that feel that they are trapped by religion's chains. However, I will always respect my mothers beliefs. I know what she beliefs helps her through life.

I guess its hypocritical. I stand up against religion but I cannot stand up against the religion my mother clings to. But that is family for you.

That is what I have done in this situation. As for yours......my advice is to follow your heart. Respect your family, of course, but you have to decide how much of yourself you want to give up.
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26-05-2010, 06:19 AM
 
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
Hi everyone...I am new to this forum and also new to Athiesm/Agnosticism. I can, without any doubts, say I am an Ex-Christian. After many years of studying ancient history, archeology, astrotheology, ancient comparative religions, it is abundantly clear to me that I've been fed the biggest lie ever sold to people and it makes me mad...very mad. My husband is still a Christian and he prays for me before I leave each morning for work. While I believe it is all nonsense, I let him continue with it due to the deep respect and love I have for him. We haven't attended church in a few years due to bad experiences and at this point I would never set my feet in a church again. He knows what I believe and he doesn't try to reconvert me. I look at it this way...if a person needs to believe in myths and mythical beings to get through this life, I don't have a problem with it...just don't try to sell it to me because I've been there and done that and refuse to live a lie for anyone.
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26-05-2010, 07:02 AM
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
Welcome, ChristyGrl! Glad to have you with us.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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26-05-2010, 11:15 AM
 
RE: practicing religion due to respect for the family
(26-05-2010 06:19 AM)ChristyGrl Wrote:  Hi everyone...I am new to this forum and also new to Athiesm/Agnosticism. I can, without any doubts, say I am an Ex-Christian. After many years of studying ancient history, archeology, astrotheology, ancient comparative religions, it is abundantly clear to me that I've been fed the biggest lie ever sold to people and it makes me mad...very mad. My husband is still a Christian and he prays for me before I leave each morning for work. While I believe it is all nonsense, I let him continue with it due to the deep respect and love I have for him. We haven't attended church in a few years due to bad experiences and at this point I would never set my feet in a church again. He knows what I believe and he doesn't try to reconvert me. I look at it this way...if a person needs to believe in myths and mythical beings to get through this life, I don't have a problem with it...just don't try to sell it to me because I've been there and done that and refuse to live a lie for anyone.

I totally agree with you and welcome! Tongue
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